Emerson, NJ— Jersey Shore University Medical Center (JSUMC) nurses and healthcare workers have relied on the childcare center at their hospital for decades. Now, Hackensack Meridian Health, the corporation that owns JSUMC, will close the center on September 30, 2022, leaving working parents to scramble to find childcare on short notice.
Healthcare workers are not generally working 9 to 5 hours, they work 12-hour shifts, sometimes called in last minute, and the average childcare program is unable to provide childcare that will accommodate the demanding and unpredictable work schedules of healthcare workers. Especially now, during the current unprecedented staffing crisis in healthcare, HMH should be making it easier for workers to come to their jobs, not harder.
HPAE is demanding an explanation for this rash and poor decision that punishes the very employees who sacrificed so much to care for patients during a global pandemic. HPAE is seeking to bargain this issue with the employer as this will have a significant financial and logistical impact on our members.
But it is especially concerning to note that HMH—which received $707.4 million in total CARES Act funds, including $46,187,608 to JSUMC in 2020, as well as $100 million in ARPA funds, a portion of which is specifically dedicated to childcare relief funding—would take this step at this particular time.